The Mad GOP Scramble to Unseat Spartacus

Tricia Flanagan and Hirsh Singh.

Does anyone really care who wins the right to advocate sending “Spartacus” packing?

Actually, a number of Republicans do, which explains why the GOP Senate primary on July 7 has become fun to watch.

The three main candidates to take on Cory Booker this fall include two Indian-Americans and a woman. They are Rik Mehta, Hirsh Singh and Tricia Flanagan. For a party that often is demeaned as an organization of “old white guys,” this type of diversity is a very good thing for New Jersey Republicans.

If there’s a favorite, it would appear to be Mehta, of Morris County, who has secured the backing of the most county organizations – 17 if you are counting. That includes many local officials in his home
county of Morris; a significant development given the fact Morris remains one of the most prominent GOP counties in the state.

A recent release highlighted endorsements for Mehta from state Sen. Anthony M. Bucco, Freeholder Doug Cabana and the mayors of Chester Borough, Chester Township, Mine Hill, Mount Arlington and Wharton.

Mehta previously was endorsed by Laura Ali, the chair of the county’s Republican Committee.

This is where the “fun” begins.

Following the endorsement, Singh, of Atlantic County, dispatched what he termed a “message” for Morris County Republicans. His message trashed both Flanagan and Mehta as not being “conservative” enough, a common line of attack in Republican primaries. But the message also included such hard to document accusations of “shadowy” figures and groups apparently working among Republicans to help Booker. Call this a New Jersey version of the “deep state” conspiracy theory.

Things got a bit more off-the-rails last week when Singh eyed people who have already mailed in their ballots and supported someone other than him. Singh’s advice was simple – just call a “do over.” Or in
other words, request a duplicate ballot and vote for him.

This would be akin to casting a vote in a polling place, exiting the booth, and then saying you changed your mind and wanted to go back in and vote again. This suggestion earned Singh some condemnation,
although he reportedly explained that he was talking about people who marked their ballot, but hadn’t mailed it in yet. Gee, that clears it up.

All elections are fun to watch for political junkies, but you still need to look at this one through the lens of reality.

Polls put Booker topping all his would-be Republican opponents by about 20 points.

That’s tough to overcome even with “do-over” voting.

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